Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dalai Lama

It's easy to think of something to post on the day you see the Dalai Lama! He was hanging out at Qwest Field with 50-60 thousand people, talking about planting "Seeds of Compassion" and so on.

I must say, he didn't sound like I expected him to. A much louder, firmer voice than you'd expect from a man of his stature and age. The event was slightly marred by a circling plane carrying a banner that read "Dalai Lama Pls Stop Supporting Riots," but it didn't interrupt the ceremony at all. I wonder what the banner was referring to. I honestly don't know enough about the Dalai Lama's political positions to form an educated opinion of him, but he struck me as an intelligent man who knows how to pack the house.


Yong Sheng said...

I really don't think Dalai Lama himself believed "equality", "liberty" and so on.
This video partially explains why do I think so.

If we want to know a person, it is more important to see what he did then what he said.

Nor said...

also, he isn't supporting the riots. that's part of the reason why the riots are happening, isn't it? because people are upset that he's not supporting independence?

Dave said...

I have no idea. The intricacies of Tibetan-Chinese politics completely elude me.

Nor said...

to be fair, all my information about the riots are from the New York Times, and i have no idea what kind of bias they have. but it sounds like the dalai lama is all about talking with the chinese to establish cultural freedom, and the people are mad because they want independence.

drew said...

It's a really complicated issue. Basically, his stated position is that he doesn't support the riots, and does not want independence for Tibet, although he would like for it to have some level of autonomy.

The Chinese government states that it can not give Tibet any level of autonomy for a variety of reasons, mostly because, according to them, there are too many Han Chinese living in Tibet now, and autonomy would not be possible. Moreover, they say that they are suspicious of the Dalai Lama's true positions regarding violence.

It's a really complicated and emotional issue for Han Chinese, in China and the U.S.- one Chinese kid wrote in to my school newspaper to say that saying Tibet should be independent from China would be as offensive as saying that Vermont should be independent from the U.S.--but it's clearly more important, because you and I would probably find the idea of Vermont seceding to be hilarious. They really feel personally hurt by it, for a variety of reasons I won't explain.

Personally, I think China is afraid of Tibet turning into another one of their possessions that they don't actually possess. Also, the fact that the current Dalai Lama was not chosen by the Chinese government makes them all very nervous- they've already picked out the child for his replacement (something that, by law, they are actually allowed to do) and are waiting for him to die so they can institute mini-Dalai Lama.

Also, gotta love the random Chinese spammers that hit *every* internet article about this that enables comments.

So in the end, I come down on the side of Tibet, the Chinese government is a little sketchy, and also I think the Dalai Lama is a classy guy.

drew said...

Wow. Sorry about that. I just never get a chance to use any of this knowledge, it just sort of builds up in my head.


Dave said...

No, it's a worthwhile discussion, if an unwieldy one.

Hah! Vermont? If your Chinese schoolmate was trying to make a serious argument, he totally failed to understand either Chinese feelings toward Tibet or American feelings toward Vermont.

Nor said...

wait wait wait. how can they already have picked the next dalai lama? the whole point of the dalai lama that each successor is the reincarnation of the current dalai lama. how can you pick the next one until the current one dies?